Saturday, May 8, 2021

Finland’s Interior Ministry Proposes New Action Plan to Support Undocumented Immigrants

Finnish Ministry of the Interior has proposed an action plan for the period 2021-2024, which aims to stop the illegal entry of immigrants into the country and simultaneously ease restrictions on acquiring a residence permit for undocumented asylum seekers.

This is the fourth national action plan introduced by Finland’s authorities in order to put an end to illegal immigration, reports.

The plan includes 52 measures at strategic and operational levels. Of them, 49 are chronologically divided into five different themes:

  • Actions in transit and the countries of origin
  • Actions at the border
  • Actions in Finland
  • Actions to promote the return
  • Actions on non-residents

Some of the measures need further clarification and possible changes in legislation.

In this regard, Finnish Minister of the Interior Maria Ohisalo has said that persons without a residence permit are at risk of exclusion, drifting to crime, and being exploited by criminals themselves, even becoming victims of human trafficking.

“For this reason, it is in the interests of both society and individuals that Finland can comprehensively prevent the formation of a shadow society,” Ohisalo pointed out.

As illegal entry is not a common problem in Finland, determining the number of persons unlawfully living in the country has been challenging.

According to the estimates, over 1,200 people from countries outside the European Union were unlawfully living in Finland in 2019.

The majority of Finland’s undocumented residents are vulnerable people seeking international protection, whose applications have not been accepted by the Finnish Immigration Service (Migri).

The Ministry of Interior previously reported that several internationals sought to enter Finland using false work permits and documents last year.

If the recent proposal is approved, asylum seekers who have stayed in Finland illegally after receiving a negative decision from Migri will be permitted to remain in the country if they are already employed.

In this case, they would acquire a special travel document that would permit them to visit their country of origin and return to Finland until they receive the official residence permit.

The data provided by the research platform Makrotrends, reveals that the number of refugees in Finland varies year to year.

  • In 2016, the number of refugees in Finland was 18,402, a 44.99 per cent increase compared to 2015 figures.
  • In 2017, the number of refugees in Finland was 20,793, a 12 per cent increase compared to 2016 figures.
  • In 2018, the number of refugees in Finland was 22,287, a 7.19 per cent increase compared to 2017.
  • In 2019, the number of refugees in Finland was 23,458, a 5.25 per cent increase compared to 2019 figures.

Authorities in Finland previously announced that under the 2020 refugee quota, the country would open its doors to 400 refugees from Syria and 200 refugees from Zambia.

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